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Earthday Report Card:
City of Santa Barbara

For many moons, the City of Santa Barbara appeared to rest on its environmental laurels-conspicuously coasting on a history of considerable accomplishment. But in the past two years, that’s all changed. From top to bottom, people at City Hall appear to have gotten green religion, and to the extent they’re singing from the same page, it had better be on recycled paper.

Earthday Report Card:
Cottage Hospital

Hospitals are supposed to be healing spaces, not community purveyors of frightening substances like neurotoxins and dioxins. But, considering the volumes of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic devices used in medical settings-plastics that leech chemicals called phthalates-and the mercury-containing equipment used and infectious waste incinerated daily, that’s pretty much what they have been.

Earthday Report Card
The Independent

During its 20 years in operation, The Santa Barbara Independent has distinguished itself with the speed and diligence with which it has embraced a host of environmental passions. But when it comes to the mundane details by which such causes are put into meaningful practice, The Independent’s customary speed and zeal has been notably lacking. There have been some exceptions, however.

Earthday Report Card:
Higher Education

If any sector of Santa Barbara life should be on the cutting edge of environmental know-how, it should be our colleges. It’s no secret that UCSB has long been a bastion of clean living, at least as far as the environment is concerned. Its Environmental Studies Department has educated many about what must be done to live sustainably.

Earthday Report Card
Builders

Even before the word was on everybody’s lips that buildings generate 48 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, the Santa Barbara Contractors Association (SBCA) was all over it, thanks to years of prodding by some of its more visionary members. The SBCA initiated the Built Green program so that builders can earn points for environmental friendliness.

Earthday Report Card:
Homeowners

More homeowners than ever before are retrofitting their homes with solar panels, according to those in the solar industry. Ironically, estate owners who may use as much energy as an entire downtown residential block are reluctant to install solar paneling.

Earthday Report Card
Agriculture

There is perhaps no more appropriate landing ground for eco-savvy sensibilities and future-conscious principles than the farmland of Santa Barbara County. Our rolling rangeland accounts for some 723,000 acres-approximately 90 percent of all privately owned land in the county. Add to that the fact that ag activity is invariably “upstream” from the Pacific Ocean, and you get a situation in which broadly applied agricultural techniques can have a sweeping, positive impact on the community.

Summer Camp Guide, 2007

The days are getting longer, the school year’s winding down, and summer is almost upon us. All of which means one thing: It’s time for The Indy’s annual Summer Camp Guide. This year, we’re sure we’ve got something for everyone: 42 pages full of camp listings for everything from ceramics to surfing, dancing to drama, horseback riding to fencing, even circus camp and scuba. So have a look-see, and get ready to spend your summer learning something new, having fun, and making new friends while you’re at it!

A Return to Tradition

Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices,” observed the poetRalph Waldo Emerson. When it comes to weddings, it’s good to keep that in mind. The best of weddings makes people bonkers. We at The Independent believe that’s because of how far the whole wingding has drifted from its formal roots and etiquette. Everything costs a fortune, anything goes, and people seem to have forgotten all about manners and tradition.
So in this, our annual wedding issue, we’ve put together tips on how to get back to the basics of wedding decorum. Read about the history of bridesmaids; find out what really goes on at that age-old send-off known as the bachelor party; check out a return to style via Fashion Engagement photos; and get some suggestions of where to have a rehearsal dinner the whole correct-salad-fork-using family will enjoy.

The Scariest Man on the Planet

One Friday afternoon late last August, Bruce Caron, a one-time urban anthropologist turned multimedia consultant, was projecting a very scary map on a wall of the University Club, Santa Barbara’s citadel of tradition and accomplishment. The map, prepared by UCSB’s geography department, was of downtown Santa Barbara. But it showed a very different city from the one we now know. It predicted what Santa Barbara would look like if Greenland’s vast prehistoric ice sheets were to melt, causing the world’s sea levels to rise about 21 feet. Contemplating this cataclysmic possibility were Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum and two well-respected scientists from UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science: David Lea and Darren Hardy.

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